Sarah Mendez.

The principal of Brooks Middle School in Oak Park has resigned to take a position at an unspecified elementary school.

Mike Michowski’s resignation was accepted by the District 97 Board of Education at their April 14 meeting. His last day will be June 30, according to a statement released by the district. Michowski had served in the position at Brooks since July 2012.

“Through his hard work, passionate commitment to education and tireless advocacy for children, Mike has helped our youngsters become knowledgeable, respectful and responsible global citizens,” said D97 Superintendent Al Roberts in a statement.

Roberts said the search for Michowski’s replacement “will begin immediately” and that the administration will work “closely and collaboratively with our various stakeholders to identify a candidate who possesses the qualities and characteristics necessary to build on the school’s success and help our students continue to learn, grow and achieve.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved the appointment of Sarah Mendez as the new principal at William Hatch Elementary School. Mendez will replace retiring Principal Sheila Carter. Mendez will start July 1.

“I want to thank Sheila Carter for the tremendous leadership and tireless commitment to education she exhibited during her nearly 40 years of dedicated service to our district and the Village of Oak Park,” said Roberts, who also congratulated Mendez on her appointment.

Before being hired by District 97, Mendez was principal at Nichols Middle School in Evanston/Skokie District 65 for five years. Prior to that appointment, she served as a bilingual/ESL coordinator, an interim assistant principal and a fifth-grade dual language educator in District 65. From 2002 to 2005, she was an elementary school reading teacher with Chicago Public Schools.

Mendez earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from DePaul University and her master’s degree in School Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.

“I fully intend to carry on the proud tradition of excellence that was established here under Principal Carter,” Mendez said in a statement released by the district. “I am also eager to begin working with the Hatch community to build on the school’s history of success and help our students thrive both in and out of the classroom.”

Superintendent Roberts said that the search to find Carter’s successor comprised both staff members and parents/guardians, “with both groups providing [Roberts] with feedback about the qualities and characteristics they felt applicants should possess,” according to the district’s statement.

“The time, effort and energy they invested into the completion of this critical task helped us fill the position with an individual who is an accomplished professional, an outstanding educator and a strong advocate for children,” Roberts said.

D97 seeking members for facilities advisory committee

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 wants you. The district is accepting interested individuals from the community who’d like to serve on its Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC), which has two open seats to fill. Individuals will be selected by the school board president.


The FAC meets once a month during the school year and “is comprised of members who have a wide array of interests and areas of expertise (architecture, engineering, energy efficiency, maintenance, accessibility, etc.),” according to a statement released by the district.


The FAC’s main responsibility is to provide the board with “oversight and guidance on the district’s facilities and infrastructure, master facilities plan, life-safety plans and proposed capital improvement projects.”


Anyone interested can visit the district’s website or email Chris Jasculca at, for more information.

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